The story of a pig in the city.
Spend some time with pigs and you come to appreciate their intelligence and individual personalities. As a native of Iowa, where pigs are plentiful, I was very curious when I first learned about Emmett, the beloved beast of Kelli Miller and Jason Lowenstein. Emmett has been a Brooklyn resident for many years, he celebrated his nineteenth birthday in July.
Emmett didn't begin his life in Brooklyn, what pig would? He began his life in Louisville Kentucky, where he was found in a gutter on the street. He is a strapping 105 pounds now, but when he was rescued from a life on the street, he was small enough to sit on a lap.
Kelli, the coworker of a friend of mine, very generously shared photos, articles and her reflections on Emmett, who she calls Piggers. The devotion and effort that Kelli and Jason have given to Emmett over the years is only compounded by the humor and patience they’ve shown while sharing their lives with their quixotic and intelligent creature.
"He's a little territorial about the apartment. He kind of doesn't like people. Outside, he's very sweet. Little kids surround him at the park." This is a quote from Kelli Miller in a Village Voice article by Toni Schlesinger titled Shelter.
"Naps take up most of his time these days, but he will participate in a carrot hunt as long as it is not raining or snowing and the temperature is between 45-83 degrees Fahrenheit-otherwise carrots be damned."
I loved the photos that Kelli sent to me. My favorites being the 3 above. The orange vest, the enticing bowl of veggies, and the milky smile on Emmett's face, all that, and the incredible colors made for a very fun portrait to paint.
Beloved Beasts at Hounds on the Sound!
Wow was it fun, though it was rainy and a bit chilly. I had help from my wonderful daughter Helen, her friend Maya, and my husband Bennett. We had loads of visitors to our booth. They signed up for the free drawing for a Beloved Beast mug. The results of which will be coming soon!
I've been very occupied as of late. Our wonderful daughter recently started High School, and fresh off of vacation, we (well mostly I) decided it was time to redecorate her room and get her ready for the fast-paced world of high school. After much master planning, painting, several trips to IKEA and about a week's worth of assembling furniture, she has a great new space and I had a several trips to the physical therapist for lumbar disease.
I highly recommend Physical Therapy, especially when you reach the point where walking any distance without pain becomes a problem. It wasn't the furniture assembly that did me in, it was my replacing the attic ceiling fan's fan belt. Really not a good idea to shove yourself into a small cramped space while trying to lift and maneuver a heavy motor. Never again. The upside, the attic fan works again, and I've learned a lot about core strength, my lumbar region (there are better bars) and the piriformis muscle (the one I made really angry).
Adding to the construction, furniture assembly and acquisition of anatomical knowledge, and the resultant physical effort involved (they don't call it physical therapy for nothing!), I am getting prepared to take Beloved Beasts to Hounds on the Sound this coming October 9!
Hounds on the Sound is a great day of activity that can be enjoyed by human's and their beasts! It's a dog-walk-a-thon that benefits Pet Rescue and the Humane Society of Westchester, there will be:
"Vendors, refreshments, activities for kids, demonstrations, dog contests, photo booth, music & much, much more! Dogs and cats will be available for adoption. NEW THIS YEAR! Dog Contests: Best Halloween Costume, Best Kisser, Best Tail Wagger & Best Trick. Prizes and ribbons for winners. Fee at the event: $10 for first contest and $5 for each additional contest."
And this year we will be one of those Vendors! So if you are in the area, and want to have a great time, and maybe adopt a new furry family member, stop by. Look for our banner, and come by to say "Hello", we will have free drawings for Beloved Beast Swag, and stickers and treats for our two legged and four legged friends.
Beloved Beast will be participating in a The Edgemont Spring Fete's silent auction tonight at Sunningdale Country Club, Scarsdale, NY from 7pm – 11pm. Happy bidding everyone!
This is Jake, when he is not busy being astoundingly adorable, he is looking for some stick throwing action from his family. Who could resist those sweet eyes? Jake is new to Ardsley, so if you happen to see him around, toss a stick his way, and say hello to his wonderful people, Jackie, Brett, and Rafi.
The final portrait. 8"x8". I knew Cuba made excellent cigars, but who knew they were capable of creating this much cuteness in one little dog.
Jake, out for a walk. What are his eyes telling you?
Here's Jake in his winter coat. Havanese, according to the AKC, are outgoing, funny and intelligent. Well you can see that just by looking at Jake.
The initial sketch. His eyes were telling me, "Throw the stick, please! Throw the stick! Stick!". So I made sure he had plenty of sticks in the background. I'm only guessing that Jake is as good at returning the sticks as he is at running them down.
Yikes, the ugly phase! It has to be done.
I wish he could stay here on my foyer table, but he is due to head home soon. "Sit Jake, stay!" He is very well behaved.
It's been said that the only thing better than being the children of Maureen, is being her dog, Winston.
Here's a progression of wonderful Winston's portrait. A very big Bouvier des Flandres, who is a very beloved beast. The gentle giant.
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I've no idea what Oscar was thinking while she was gazing at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night. She isn't a TV watcher, we once put a YouTube video of birds up on the screen, it's not something we repeated since she nearly knocked over the TV trying to get at them. But following that incident she didn't give the TV much notice, except for Tuesday when to our surprise she was staring at a dog on the screen.
All this interest in the Dog Show got me thinking of how fortunate I was to have my two cats. I happen to love dogs, but I wasn't raised with them. My husband, Bennett, grew up with wonderful big dogs as part of his family. They favored Terriers because of their personality and their lovely habit of not shedding hair all over the house.
When we first met, his parents had a Bouvier named Bigger. If you've never seen one, they look quite a lot like bear cubs, just bigger. In their home of origin, Bouvier des Flanders are herders and cart pullers. So we are talking big handsome dogs that could pull you around your lawn, if you happened to have a cart!
I had two cats when we began dating, Spencer and Zinc. They were fairly young and they were my beloved beasts. As our relationship grew, Bennett came to realize that he would be living with cats. We had discussions, meant to calm his nerves, that when Spencer and Zinc departed this earth, we would then adopt a dog into our family. Since the cats were young, I felt I had time, and aside from that, I had a secret weapon:
Spencer the dog disguised as a cat!
To begin with, he was a handsome fellow that never met a lap he didn't like, and he was prone to seek out the lap of individuals that could be described as dog lovers! He came when you called his name, in fact he'd run to the door when you arrived home. If he was outside, Spencer would run up to greet you. He was a real lover of dogs; when we lived in an apartment in Boston, Spencer would go down the back stairs to the landladies apartment to hang out with her Tibetan Terriers and check out what was for dinner at their place. This "cat" was imminently bribable, eating out of your hand, waiting at your feet for scraps. Sound familiar?
Bennett was putty in Spencer's paws. Pretty soon they were the best of friends, and Bennett was even trying to get to know Zinc, our other cat, who showed no interest in Bennett whatsoever. Years went by before Bennett taught Zinc to beg for food, heavily laced with catnip of course. Time passed and our boys were nearing 20. I was contemplating changing teams, going from a cat person to a dog lover. I was out enjoying weeding my garden with some help from a neighbor's son, Sean, when a stranger entered our lives.
The helpless, homeless and hungry kitten.
I looked up and noticed a kitten across the fence in another yard. He was working very hard to get my attention, and trying to squirm under the fence. I asked Sean if the kitten was his, since it was in his yard. He said that no the cat wasn't his, but that it had been living around the neighborhood for several months eating garbage. Hearing that I ran into Sean's yard and picked the little guy up. Bennett was heading to work and saw us just as I was entering our yard. He looked at the kitten, and we thought of calling his sister Carol, who had just recently lost her cat Sneakers. I fed the cat, he was so hungry that he ate 3 cans of cat food, looking a lot like the snake that swallowed the chicken. I took some photos and sent them off the Carol and Bennett, and pretty soon I get a phone call from my husband. He said, "Well, if the other cats like him, we'll let him stay." We had to let Carol down easy. Monk, as he was named, was Bennett's first chosen cat, though it really was the other way around. Though he is all cat, at 16 pounds, he's nearly the size of a small dog. I'll leave Oscar, the girl's story for another day.
How about you, ever have a dog disguised as a cat? or a cat disguised as a dog?
Dozer is the beloved beast of a dear friend that I've known since childhood. He is a real water baby and, fortunately for me, he has a woman in his life that not only loves him like crazy, but is a great photographer. I couldn't resist painting his portrait, it is the first 12" x 12" portrait I've done.
I've sketched Dozer, then began with the water detail. It took a bit of fiddling around to determine the color and value I wanted for the water. I loved the abstract pattern and stayed to the lighter side, thinking of a combination of sky and water.
I start by blocking in tones, I'm looking for the underlying colors and shades below his white coat. I'm also thinking of the overall value of the painting when it is finished. This phase always freaks me out a bit, the image looks very flat and strange, and my brain just wants to get it completed. Where to begin?
I never really noticed how incredibly weird tongues are until I started painting one. Dozer's tongue is a big part of this photo, and believe me, there were times I wished I'd found a photo with his mouth closed.
Funny how the things that you struggle with can end up being the things you like most about a portrait.
I'm Laura Reed, a long time painter and animal lover, this is my blog about beasts, painting, and whatnot.
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